On Jan. 31 in broad daylight, a horrific hit-and-run occurred on Freeport Boulevard near Fruitridge Road. A child and grandmother, crossing a busy five-lane road at an intersection where an unsafe crosswalk had been erased, were hit by a car.
That same day, city of Sacramento staff wrapped up a series of workshops on our Vision Zero Action Plan, a comprehensive and ambitious effort to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries through policies, infrastructure investments, and public outreach to pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers.
The Vision Zero plan, which kicked off its outreach campaign this month, is a call to action. We need to engineer and build new roads and sidewalks around the city. They must be produced by conversations among transportation, public safety and health professionals, and, most importantly, the residents they serve.
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While there are many factors that contribute to safety – roadway design, speed, enforcement, technology and policies – we need to leverage all the tools available to make city streets safe. Not everything in the Vision Zero plan is a matter of engineering or construction.
Even the best-designed streets aren’t safe when drivers are distracted, speeding or reckless. The latest state figures rank Sacramento as having one of the highest rates of crashes due to dangerous driver behavior. We also need education and enforcement.
The policies we pass at City Hall can also have a substantial impact. The Vision Zero plan highlights an opportunity to improve how the city handles crosswalks. We should revisit the pedestrian crossing guidelines that require removal of crosswalks, and improve them instead.
We must invest more in traffic safety education and enforcement, and continue to redesign streets such as Freeport Boulevard to serve residents as well as commuters. It is more imperative than ever that we move to adopt and take action on Vision Zero.
Steve Hansen represents District 4 on the Sacramento City Council and can be contacted at SHansen@cityofsacramento.org.
Jay Schenirer represents District 5 on the City Council and can be contacted at JSchenirer@cityofsacramento.org.